Product knowledge training is an important part of your overall restaurant training program. It’s not enough for your employees to simply know their products. They also have to use that product knowledge to make sales. The Top This! contest can be used during a training meeting and gives employees an opportunity to do just that — before they hit the floor. Here’s how it works.

What You’ll Need

  • Prizes for the winning team.
  • Selected menu items to feature in the contest.

Getting Started

Before your pre-shift meeting, select several menu or bar items you want to feature in the Top This! contest, and write their names on a piece of paper.

At the meeting, split your staff into two teams, dividing the best players equally.

Have one member of each team stand face-to-face and take turns describing food items or drinks with phrases that highlight features (“They’re covered with bubbly cheese”), benefits (“They’ll go great with your beers”) and value (“They’re only $4.95).

The Top This! exchange continues until one person gets stumped. For example:

Peach Pie

Contestant A: Fresh peaches!

Contestant B: Graham cracker crust!

Contestant A: Fresh whipped cream!

Contestant B: Light!

Contestant A: Fruity!

Contestant B: Only $3.50

Contestant A: Popular!

Contestant B: Refreshing!

Contestant A: Goes great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Contestant B: Uhhhh…

The stumped contestant has been “seated.” The first team to seat all the members of the opposing team, or the team to seat the most opponents in a designated time period, wins. Reward the winners with lottery tickets or other small, inexpensive prizes.

Close the meeting with a discussion about the features and benefits of menu items you’d like to focus sales on for that shift.

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